Has AI been racist?

R. Luke DuBois is Co-Director / Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

A current exhibition in New York, courtesy of the Cooper, Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, “Face Values: Exploring Artificial Intelligence,” explores the ways AI projects can exhibit unconscious bias, for example: “R. Luke DuBois’s installation, Expression Portrait, for example, invites a museum goer to sit in front of a computer and display an emotion, such as anger or joy, on his or her face. A camera records the visitor’s expression and employs software tools to judge the sitter’s age, sex, gender and emotional state. (No identifying data is collected and the images are not shared.) “We learn that such systems often make mistakes when interpreting facial data.” “Emotion is culturally coded,” says DuBois. “To say that open eyes and raised corners of the mouth imply happiness is a gross oversimplification.”

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